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Jude Bellingham’s late equaliser spared England a second successive Wembley defeat in the friendly against Belgium.

Jude Bellingham

After losing to Brazil at home, Gareth Southgate’s reorganized team performed inconsistently.

Although the attack showed potential, their defense showed weakness, which Belgium mercilessly took advantage of until Bellingham’s dramatic, late intervention.

After 11 minutes, Youri Tielemans gave Belgium the lead thanks to a rare mistake committed by England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford—his first that resulted in a goal in 60 international games.

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After being hauled down by seasoned player Jan Vertonghen, Ivan Toney, who was making his debut start for England, opened his international career six minutes later with the equalizer from the penalty spot.

Nine minutes before halftime, another defensive error allowed Belgium to take the lead again, despite several opportunities, including Jarrod Bowen’s close-range header that was disallowed for offside. Romelu Lukaku’s mistake let Lewis Dunk set up Tielemans for a headed goal.

England had their own opportunities, with 18-year-old Kobbie Mainoo making an impression on his debut, and Bellingham wasting opportunities and Phil Foden unable to make the most of a decent position.

Matz Sels, the Belgium goalkeeper, denied Bowen before Bellingham made amends with a late, low shot to give England a well-earned draw.

Both Mainoo and Toney presented strong arguments for being included, with Mainoo especially making an impression in midfield with Declan Rice. Toney scored his first goal for England from the penalty spot, displaying poise.

Dunk, a defender for Brighton, had a rough night and may not make the squad for Euro 2024 because of his mistakes, which led to Belgium’s two goals.

In spite of the uncertainty, players such as Bellingham and Bowen put on outstanding displays that gave Southgate important information about his squad choices.

As England gets ready for the tournament in Germany, it was a worthwhile exercise to have the international break help Southgate with a few selection conundrums.

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